The South African department of trade and
industry is deferring the implementation of the new Companies Act
by a month, until 1 May.

The South African Institute of Chartered
Accountants (SAICA) welcomed the decision but said that companies
would actually need at least three months from the publication of
the final amendments, regulations and forms to comply with the new

SAICA senior executive for standards Ewald Muller said the
institute is pleased the government has been responsive to previous
calls from it, the Johannesburg stock exchange and other market
commentators to delay the implementation of the Act, but are
concerned South African companies will not have enough time to
prepare and comply with its provisions.

“This will be the biggest overhaul of a highly
complex area of company law in many decades. It will change the
ground rules of business – and we must get it right,” Muller

The new South African Companies Act promises
to increase business transparency, improve director accountability,
provide a simplified administration; allow for greater flexibility
for corporate auditing and review and provide for innovative new
business rescue provisions.